(Originally Published: July, 2019 @ Boxing.com)
Cut the big Russian some slack. He’s just a befuddled immigrant, not fully comprehending American customs and culture. That’s what I’ve been told, anyway, every time the 3-time light heavyweight champ does something that appears, on the surface, to be disgusting and/or appalling. And who the hell am I to doubt the reverse-social justice warriors who fill my gmail inbox every time I write something critical of Sergey Kovalev’s outside-the-ring antics. I guess I just haven’t been understanding enough.
But I’ve come around and, if you have any love and compassion in your heart, I know you can too.
Kovalev’s latest silly misunderstanding dates back to July 15 when, according to the Athletic, the fighter was removed from an airplane on a Fort Lauderdale-to-Los Angeles flight for forcibly kissing a female fellow passenger and throwing cash at her when she didn’t appreciate his testosterone (and maybe Vodka)-heavy advances.
Poor Sergey. How the hell was he supposed to know that, in America, such things were frowned upon? Can you honestly expect a man who’s only had ten years in the country to fully understand such cultural complexities?
Last year, the tough-luck immigrant got into hot water for allegedly following a woman to her cabin at a California resort and insisting on sexual intercourse, then assaulting her when she refused. The woman says he punched her and kicked her dog before fleeing the cabin. She later filed a civil lawsuit to go along with the felony assault charge initiated by authorities.
How unfair is it that Sacha Baron Cohen’s lovable Borat character gets laughs and applause from the American public for his desires to make “sexy time” with unwilling women, but a real befuddled immigrant like Sergey gets felony assault charges?
Again, the poor guy’s only been in America since 2009! How can he be expected to have a full grasp on what’s correct and proper in this new, very different environment? Cultural kerfuffles have followed around the current WBO light heavyweight champ for several years now and, based on what I’ve been told by Kovalev fans, it’s just not fair to judge him as a “bad” person.
How could Kovalev know that it was a no-no to call African-American opponents “thoroughbred niggas” or imply that Haitian fighter Adonis Stevenson was a monkey? In Russia, from what I gather, this stuff is commonplace. At least, that’s what I’ve been led to believe.
In Russia, apparently, it’s also okay to assault women. Kicking dogs is a dubious one, but I’ll err on Sergey’s side and assume that kicking dogs is okay there, too, provided it’s one of those sissy, fi-fi dogs and not a good, useful hunting dog.
All of this must be so stressful for Sergey. Imagine living in a new world where up is down and left is right. Imagine walking through life in a completely foreign culture where your every instinct is considered wrong and deviant.
How confused poor, sweet Sergey must be!
A tear is rolling down my cheek as I write this. I wish I could give the big galoot a gigantic bro hug and maybe offer my services as cultural guide for the next decade or so—until he has enough time to actually digest our wildly odd and perplexing upside-down American ways.
And, Sergey, if you’re reading this– Bless you, brother. God Speed. Have patience with us as we struggle to truly understand your struggle.